Can You Put A Carbon Bike On A Bike Rack?

Carbon bikes are an excellent choice for cyclists looking for a modern design while being lightweight and sturdy. When going out on a road trip, carrying your bicycle on a rack is the easiest option, but not when it is a carbon bike.

Carbon frames tend to scratch easily, which leads them to degrade rapidly. This article will discuss whether you can put a carbon bike on a rack and the better alternatives.

Can You Put A Carbon Bike On A Bike Rack?

Yes, you can put a carbon bike on a bike rack, but only if it does not touch the bicycle’s frame.

Carbon bikes are very lightweight and durable, but unlike steel bicycle, the carbon frame deteriorates quickly if the top layer gets breached.

You must ensure that the bike frame is not in contact with the rack when carrying it.

Roof Rack

Yes, you can put your carbon bike on a roof rack, but you must ensure it is not positioned in a way that it touches the frame of the bicycle.

Roof racks tend to be a viable option when they do not clamp the carbon frame of the bike. This prevents any chipping or scratches on the body. Putting the bicycle on a roof rack also means that the trunk is not blocked, and you have full access. They are preferred because they offer the most space to put bikes, making it convenient for a large group of cyclists.

Roof racks have their downside too. Placing the bike on the roof is a problem in itself, as it is tedious to physically place the bicycle on the rack in the first place. Positioning your bike on the top also compromises safety as you could easily bump into a billboard or a tree.

Hitch Rack

Yes, you can put a carbon bike on a hitch rack. If you’re scared you might hit an obstacle or find it difficult to place your bicycle on the top of your car, you can try placing it on a hitch rack. There are ways you could put your bike on a hitch rack, on a hanging hitch rack, or on a platform hitch rack. Let us see the differences between the two.

Read more: Best Hitch Bike Rack Reviews & Buying Guide

Hanging Hitch Rack

No, you can’t put the carbon bike on a hanging hitch rack. Placing your cycle on a hanging hitch rack leaves it in a risky position to get scratched easily.

Hanging hitch racks are mast-designed racks that you may use with your bicycle. Many might be tempted due to the racks being a cheap and lightweight option, but due to their design, hanging racks offer little space between bikes and also have to clamp against the frame.

This allows room for the bikes to bump into each other, leading to scratches. The clamp itself may also scratch the carbon body, compromising the top layer.

You may suggest clamping the bicycle more tightly, but as it is made from carbon, excess pressure on the body can cause it to crash.

Platform Hitch Rack

Yes, you can put a carbon bike on a platform hitch rack. Platform racks are a better option as they do not hold onto the bicycle’s frame.

Platform bike racks are tray-style racks, a popular option for cyclists, especially carbon bike owners. Although they are heavy and expensive, platform racks keep bikes safe.

It does so by clamping onto the front and rear tires. This prevents any contact with the frame of the bike. The bicycles are also secured in place, preventing them from getting in contact with each other.

Platform racks are also a popular option because they are easy to install and make mounting and dismounting a cycle a smooth process.

You should still use the frame protector when mounting your carbon frame bike on the platform hitch rack.

Trunk Mounted Rack

No, you can’t put your bike on a trunk-mounted rack. Trunk-mounted racks may damage your rig.

Trunk-mounted racks may seem viable as they are cheap and versatile options, but they hold the bike by the frame, which means the bicycleis prone to friction.

Trunk racks also have a lower capacity than other racks; thus, it is not the best option. They can also limit trunk access.

Why Bike Racks Are Bad For Carbon Racks?

Carbon bikes may be a favorite choice for their featherweight and durable properties. Still, they are delicate when it comes to scratches or cracks.

Unlike steel or aluminum, carbon bikes cannot withstand too much external abuse on its body.

When driving, the rack holding the bicycle and the frame create friction, bruising the structure.

This is where carbon bikes fall short. Once its exterior is damaged, the cycle degrades quickly; thus, it is vital to examine the bicycle frequently.

Related reading: Can A Bike Rack Rest On Glass?

What is A Better Way To Carry A Carbon Bike In A Car?

Now, you may be asking, how do you carry a carbon bike in a car if you should not be using a rack to put it?

In the Trunk Or Backseat

Well, the most obvious way would be to place the bicycle in the trunk of your car or the back seat. The defining factor is whether the bike is small enough to fit in these limited spaces.

A fix would be to deflate and remove the wheels to fit your bike in your car. This would make enough space for your bike if it did not fit previously.

Read more: How To Carry Bike In Car?

Use Protective Wrapping

If your bicycleis still too large to fit in your trunk or the back seat, you are left to use your bike rack. But, you do not have to risk your bike frame for it. Instead of clamping the bare bike on the rack, you may wrap your bike with a soft blanket, bubble wrap, or even a frame bag.

This helps keep the rack out of contact with the carbon bike’s frame. It also prevents other bicycles from colliding, helping maintain the cycle’s health.

Choose Fork Mounts

Roof racks are a popular option for cyclists s as they give space to operate the trunk and the rack has sufficient space for a couple of bicycle. But, the ones that hold the bike by the frame are not a feasible option for carbon bike owners.

For them, fork mounts are the answer. Fork mounts help hold the bicycle upright by clamping onto the bike’s wheels, like a platform rack. This ensures that the bike frame is not touching the rack, preventing scratches.

Platform Hitch Racks

Platform hitch racks are your last resort when there are no other options. These racks tend to be safer as they clamp onto the wheels instead of the frame. This prevents any damage done by the rack. Ensure the bicycle do not touch each other while carrying multiple cycles on the rack.

Related reading: Can Car Bike Racks Get Wet?


It is every cyclist’s dream to buy a fast, durable, and portable bicycle. Carbon bikes make all these wishes true, but they can be delicate. The same dream becomes a biker‘s nightmare when carrying your bicycle around with your car.

For many, bike racks are a popular option to transport your bicycle, but you may wonder whether you can also put your carbon bike on a bike rack. All racks are ill-advised to be used with a carbon bike, but some are just kryptonite.

As previously mentioned in this article, hanging and trunk racks are detrimental options as they bite into the bicycle’s frame, damaging it.

Better options would be placing your bicycle inside the car or wrapping a protective cover around the bicycle when clamping it onto the rack.


Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *